What Waits in Shadow

shadow siblings.jpg

Part twenty-two of Misplaced Fire

Jason looked at his hands, looking for the power behind them. “They control us? How can that happen?”

Nesrin admired Dinah’s flute. “Isabelle, you’re the psychology major; explain what’s dangerous about ignoring your shadow self.”

Isabelle frowned at being put through her paces. “The lack of self-knowledge gives the unconscious mind an opportunity to control the actions of the conscious mind and allow the aspects of the shadow to run unchecked. Básicamente the shadow overruns the rest of the self.”

Dinah sent the flute back to its shelf. “You two looked at your shadows lately?”

They hadn’t, so they did. Their shadows were distorted beyond human shape. Shoulders too broad, body too long and thin. Each shadow was also incomplete. Isabelle’s had the arms, random pieces of the torso, the feet, and the left half of the head, t. Jason’s had the hands, the remaining pieces of the torso, the legs, and the right half of the head.

Isabelle said, “Point taken.”

Jason nodded.

The new initiates let their mentors lead them to a rooftop courtyard in the middle of Dinah’s fortress. It was walled in by carved wood. The grass was colored in blue and white squares laid out like a chess board. The tallest trees had curled branches that formed a mass of circles climbing up the trunks. The lower shrubs, riddled with moss, were pruned in the shapes of centaurs, fauns, and monopods. Bushes Jason and Isabelle considered “normal” were present, but in the minority.

Ceylan spoke first. “For this stage of your education it would be best to remain in your fire forms, to get a better feel for how they function.”

All five ignited.

Nesrin said, “This shouldn’t take long. You’ve only got half the strength of a sila. That’s less than we have.”

Jason became twice his normal hight and his lower body became that of a giant squirrel. It seemed to take Jason a second to notice. When he did he looked at Nesrin. “Can you do this?”

Ceylan stepped forward. “Lower the temperature, Nesrin. Jason, it’s probably best to leave the spectacle out.”

Jason returned to normal. Half a second later he became dragon shaped. It was impossible to read his facial expression. “I can’t change back; I’m not controlling this anymore.”

Nesrin mumbled something in Jason’s direction and was making hand motions.

Isabelle blinked. Nesrin’s mouth sealed closed and her hands clasped together.

Ceylan freed Nesrin and glared at Isabelle.

Isabelle made an offended gesture. “Again, yo no hice eso.” Her stance relaxed as soon as how she got the words out. “Or did I?”

Jason’s voice said, “No, you didn’t.”

Continued next week

Link to previous installments: https://anindeterminatenumberofnights.blog/category/misplaced-fire/

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